Utility Battle Heating Up During Final Week

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The battle for the backup utility/bench job looks to be a tough competition during the final week of spring training. Other than the starting nine, the club has five spots for bench roles. Nate McLouth is a lock for the fourth outfielder, Michael McKenry will back up Rod Barajas at the plate, and the club will go with Casey McGehee in part of a platoon at first base with Garrett Jones. That leaves two positions...

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Pirates Notebook: Alvarez to Start Season in Majors

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Despite struggling at the plate during Grapefruit League action this spring, third baseman Pedro Alvarez will start the season in the Majors. Rumors swirled that Alvarez might start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis to get back on track, but Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington insisted on Sunday, prior to the Bucs 9-7 win over the Houston Astros, that they do not plan on sending Alvarez to Triple-A to...

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Pirates Collect 20 Hits in Win Over Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Pirates won 9-7 to the Houston Astros at Osceola County Stadium on Sunday. The club combined for 20 hits off the Astros arms. “We were able to go to the plate and really ground out some at-bats well,” Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said. “We were taking what was given to us. We hit most of the balls where they were pitched. Not some big swings, not much out of control, aggressive...

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Pirates Notebook: Navarro Battling For Bench Job

BRADENTON, Fla. — Over the offseason, the Pirates made a trade for infielder Yamaico Navarro from the Kansas City Royals in return for hard throwing righty prospect Brooks Pounders and international minor leaguer Diego Goris. “I was a little bit surprised, but I’m very happy here,”Navarro said. “Ball’s a little different [in the National League].” Navarro is battling for a utility bench job this spring...

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Pirates Lose 8-6, to Rays in See-Saw Game

BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 8-6 at McKechnie Field on Thursday. Right-hander Jeff Karstens allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits over five innings. He walked four and struck out three in his fourth Grapefruit League start of the spring. Karstens threw 89 pitches over his five innings of work. “Obviously you want to take the positives out of it,” Karstens said....

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